Dissertation Proposal

Gender Roles in the Broadcasting Industry

As I particularly enjoyed writing and researching the history of masculinity and femininity in the media I have decided to write about this topic for my dissertation in my third year. I feel that the topic is interesting and relevant, as nowadays gender equality is a prominent argument in our culture, as sexism still happens in the workplace and society in general.

Research topics:

  • Women in sports reporting
  • Male and female dynamics in news reporting
  • Comfort of females in the newsroom
  • Public views of female reporters versus male reporters

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Critical Analysis of Visual Culture Texts

Visual culture is the study of visual forms in a postmodern society. The cultural shift to a world of visual rather than textual. The visual comes in many forms, such as art, video, the Internet, fashion, even architecture. The topic references the different cultural forms of visual culture, for example, ‘low’ cultural forms include communications and media, and the ‘high’ cultural forms include architecture, fine art and design. “The criteria used to interpret and give value to images depend on cultural codes, or shared concepts, concerning what makes an image pleasing or unpleasant, shocking or banal, interesting or boring.” Sturken and Cartwright (2009).

Semiotics comes into practice here. The audience (members of society) has to decode the meaning of the images all around them, like signs and subjective art. What the creator wants to get across may not be what the audience interprets from the visuals. Re-appropriation can then be referenced, as an image or piece of footage can be taken and twisted to mean something completely different than what had been intended by the producer.

“Meanings are produced through the complex negotiations that make up the social process and practices which we produce and interpret images.” Sturken and Cartwright (2009).

Another point that was made in the text was that viewers can be influenced by the visuals that they see, like television advertisements and videos, for example. The audience bring cultural associations to what they have seen, thus affecting their ‘individual interpretations’ of what they are seeing. “Meanings are created in part when, where, and by whom images are consumed, and not only when, where, and by whom they are produced.”

As with the cyberculture text, the information relating to this text was very confusing to read, and I had to, once again, go and research more myself so that I could grasp the theories and meanings of visual culture. In my additional research, I discovered a quote from William Gibson: “The experience of everyday life can be described as code-switching or hacking the visual codes around us to navigate and negotiate meaning.” This links in with the decoding of the visuals around us in our postmodernist world.

In my personal opinion, the text was difficult to understand, as many different arguments were introduced. However, this would be a good source of information for someone studying media, sociology, and even art, as research relating to all of these areas is touched upon in the text. The writers use theorists research to back up their statements, but too many were used and audience understanding could get lost in information overload.

References

Marita Sturken and Lisa Cartwright. Practices of Looking (2009).

I found a quote by William Gibson from his work Pattern Recognition when I researched the topic myself.

Critical Analysis of Cyberculture Texts

The main argument of cyberculture is whether the Internet or ‘cyberspace’ has affected the ‘real’ society and human interaction. There are two sides to this; has the human race substituted a real life community for an online community? Or have they had to create an online community because we are becoming more detached from society?

Many theorists have investigated and given their views in this text. Karl Marx and the Marxist theory is that capitalism, which is our culture, has caused alienation. From the text, I understood that Marxism suggests that the ‘machinery’ (the Internet in this case) is animated by the workers (the Internet users) and gives the power, skill and strength to them. This could refer to the abilities and opportunities that have been given to society by the creation of the Internet.

This text would appeal to those studying in the fields of media and technology, human interaction, as well as cultural systems. The text includes many theorist views, giving a range of ideas and research relating to the topic. Although it can be slightly confusing for the reader, a lot of relevant comparisons are made that would aid someone in their academic studies if they were writing about cyberculture.

The texts reference how technology has become a major cog in our societal machine, meaning, each generation of the human race are becoming more naturalised to technology and a ‘cyberculture’. Some of the points raised got me thinking about how we, as a race, have progressed to accept a cyberculture as a natural part of our daily lives.

However, towards the end of the text, questions that were raised at the beginning were revisited, suggesting that all of the theories and time spent reading was unnecessary, as not many conclusive points were made.

Still, the text itself showed some interesting opinions, whether or not it was made clear to the audience so that they could understand the concept. A factor that proves the text to be well balanced with research is the amount of references to different areas that were given; journals, films and books were all used as research to back up the points being made.

A key point that was raised in the text is cyberculture and ’cause and effect’. A quote I have selected states: “The media as technology cannot be said to have any direct ‘effects’ on culture at all, since it is made up of the actions, purposes, desires and intentions of human agents.” This was paraphrased from theorist Bruno Latour’s findings.

In my view, as I carried out further research to make sure I fully understood what cyberculture was, I feel that the text we were given was not very clear and concise, and not much progression into my understanding of the topic was made. Although the fact that I had not read the complete text as a whole may have hindered my comprehension. If a notable finding was reached at the conclusion of the text, I think I would have thought the text as being more informative.

References

Cyberculture: Technology, Nature and Culture.

Karl Marx (1993).

In addition to reading the text, I read a section of David Bell’s theory, titled An Introduction to Cybercultures, which gave me a little more understanding.

CATS 4 Essay Proposal

“Discuss changing representations of femininity and masculinity in visual culture, and the factors which have influenced them.”

In this essay, I shall analyse the female and male dynamics and gender representations in television, film and photography. I will also debate the social implications and the influences of this in stereotypical and archetypal gender roles.

A main argument that will be referenced in this essay is feminism and gender equality. In television, specifically in news broadcasting, you can see the masculinity and femininity changes over the past twenty years. It is more common nowadays for a female-male presenting duo on the six o’clock and ten o’clock news, and on the twenty-four hour news channels such as BBC News and Sky News. This is a step forward in equality as in today’s culture, the medium of television news want to represent both genders on screen, rather than a solely male-presented programme, as it used to be in the past.

Another issue I will address throughout the essay will be female and male portrayals within film. Particularly in action and superhero movies; the males are considered the saviours and the women are, more often than not, depicted as the damsels in distress. This is still seen in film today. Of course, examples of masculinity and femininity in these action genres are visual representations of male and female characters from comic books. Most comic books are geared towards a male audience, which could be a contributing factor as to how masculinity and femininity in characters is presented.

CATS 4 Essay Question

My chosen question is “Discuss changing representations of femininity and masculinity in visual culture, and the factors which have influenced them.”

The theories and principal sources I will use to conduct a valid argument and a detailed answer for this essay are feminism and gender equality in modern society, including gender roles; male/female dynamic in television presenting and broadcasting; female objectification, discrimination and sexism.

I believe these areas will allow me to delve deep in the cultural implications of masculinity and femininity in broadcast media, and will able me to give a detailed analysis of gender roles in modern media visual culture.